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Kristen Stewart Said She "Lit Her Universe on Fire" When She Cheated on Robert Pattinson

The stars of Twilight were a beloved Hollywood couple at the time of the 2012 scandal.

Celebrity cheating scandals are certainly nothing new: You can look back at the golden age of Hollywood for any number of stories about the biggest stars of their day straying, and our current era of cell phone cameras and gossip blogs have created even more opportunities for A-listers to get caught. But few moments of celeb infidelity have had the impact of Kristen Stewart cheating on her boyfriend and Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson. In the years since, the Spencer star has spoken candidly about what led her to cheat, and how she grew from the experience. Read on to see what she had to say.

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Stewart and Pattinson met while filming Twilight.

kristen stewart and robert pattinson in twilight
Summit Entertainment

As Twilight fans fell in love with their depiction of Bella Swan and her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen, Stewart and Pattinson were falling in love in real life. Per Us Weekly, the two were first romantically linked in 2009, the year that New Moon hit theaters. They dated for the remainder of the film series, breaking up in 2013.

In an appearance on The Howard Stern Show in 2019, Stewart told host Howard Stern that at one point, she was sure she and Pattinson would be together forever. "Every relationship I've ever been in, I thought that was it," she said.

Stewart revealed that she also struggled with the high-profile nature of her relationship. The couple was regularly followed by paparazzi. "We didn't walk down the street holding hands because we were like, 'We don't want to give it to them,' but then we didn't get to walk down the street holding hands—and it sucked," Stewart revealed.

Stewart was caught kissing her married director, Rupert Sanders.

kristen stewart on the red carpet for snow white and the huntsman
Marianna Massey / Getty Images

Stewart's relationship with Pattinson faced new scrutiny in 2012, when Us Weekly published photos of the actor kissing Rupert Sanders, her director on Snow White and the Huntsman. Then 22, Stewart received most the attention as the bigger name in the more publicized relationship—though 41-year-old Sanders was married to model Liberty Ross, with whom he had two children.

Sanders issued a public apology to People, and later called the infidelity an "exciting" mistake. Stewart issued an apology of her own to Pattinson, also in a statement to People, saying, "I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry."

Stewart and Pattinson ended up staying together for another year, but the press and fans weren't all quick to forgive her. Future president Donald Trump even tweeted about the cheating, writing, "Robert Pattinson should not take back Kristen Stewart. She cheated on him like a dog & will do it again."

Reflecting on the indiscretion—which she clarified never went past kissing—Stewart told Stern (via Radar), "That was a really hard period in my life. I was really young."

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Cheating on Pattinson "lit my universe on fire," she said.

robert pattinson and kristen stewart on a spanish tv show
Juan Naharro Gimenez / Getty Images

In a 2015 interview with Marie Claire, Stewart tried to articulate her mindset in 2012, and what led her to step outside of her long-standing relationship with Pattinson. In part, she confided that she may have been reacting to the "rebel" label that had been forced on her because of the way she seemed to reject her celebrity status.

Of cheating on Pattinson, Stewart said, "I lit my universe on fire, and I watched it burn."

It wasn't just for kicks, of course. She added, "Speaking very candidly, it was a really traumatic period in my early 20s that kick-started something in me that was a bit more… feral."

In the Marie Claire interview, Stewart noted that she had apologized in 2012, and that it didn't do much to quiet the rage people felt toward her. She did not feel the need to offer another apology, noting, "Women are always saying they are sorry."

Stewart and Pattinson are both in happy relationships.

kristen stewart and dylan meyer on the red carpet
Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Later in the same interview, Stewart expressed that the trials of her early fame—including the media frenzy surrounding her relationship and infidelity—had made her stronger. "The public kind of burned me at the stake," she told Marie Claire. "But that's OK, I can take it. I'm not dead."

These days, the actor can be a little less revealing about her personal life, but she did confirm in Nov. 2021 that she had gotten engaged to her girlfriendDylan Meyer, per E! She had previously told Howard Stern in the 2019 interview that she eventually planned on proposing to her.

"When you know, you know. You know what I mean?" Stewart told Stern. "There is nothing like feeling sure about anything, because we don't know anything. And that is the only thing you can feel like you know, is that if you're in love with someone."

For his part, Pattinson has been in a relationship with model, actor, and musician Suki Waterhouse since 2018, per a People timeline. While the couple has certainly been seen in plenty of paparazzi photos over the years, they also tend to keep things a bit more under wraps than he and Stewart were able to. It wasn't until this May, in fact, that they made their first red carpet appearance at the 2023 Met Gala.

Also in attendance, as Us Weekly noted: Stewart. It's not clear if the two crossed paths away from the cameras—or if they happened to bump into Sanders' now ex-wife Ross, who was there as well.

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